Justice League: Generation Lost #22
Written by Judd Winick
Art by Joe Bennett
This issue is the last expositional speedbump on the way to the conclusion of this title, choosing to spend its time catching up both the characters and readers on all the plot we’ve had laid onto our brains lately. We find out how Beetle survived, why the JLI kept their memories, and oh yeah, reinforcements finally arrive. It’s the last calm issue before the last two issues promise to do all kinds of big shit and leave this book ending with a bang.
We open up with Beetle, and figuring out how he survived being shot in the head (here’s a hint: it was his suit), which leads to some decent comedy from Rocket Red, but then we get the knowledge bombs. Like the JLI finding out that their memories of Max remaining was not an accident or an oversight, and that they’ve been his pawns since the beginning. Sure, this isn’t news to readers, but to the characters? That’s one hell of a gut punch to get right after the big “Beetle isn’t dead!” victory. They’ve been manipulated since day one, but now they know everything including what he’s up to next. This leads to our new members showing up, which honestly does feel a lot like the cavalry arriving, and just in the knick of time. Max is about to go after his endgame.
His endgame, I must add, makes perfect sense in character, and is something of a culmination of all things Max dating back to his death. I want to say it’s a spoiler, but the reality is that the what isn’t a spoiler, rather, the how. So what’s the plan? Simple.
Kill Wonder Woman.
There is, of course, the obvious drawback to this plan that Max discovered several issues ago….that Diana seems to have been wiped from existence as a side-effect of her current storyline, as Wonder Woman is now a new character that nobody aside from Max and the JLI have heard of. Well, and one of our new JLI recruits, but then again, he is a universal master of knowing stuff. Thankfully Judd doesn’t spend an issue on the hunt for Diana, as our master of knowing stuff knows exactly where she is….and so does Max.
Joe Bennett’s pencils feel a bit rushed at times in this issue, I hate to say. There’s some really cool design work, including Rocket Red’s composite hologram of Wonder Woman, but there are quite a few repeated panels, a few iffy faces, and the first half of the issue feels a bit phoned in. That isn’t to say that the issue looks bad, as even phoning it in Joe Bennett is a damn good artist, just that it lacks some of the added oomph of earlier issues. The big two page spread at the end looks awesome, however, as does just about scene with Max.
The problem with this book, really, the only problem with this book is that when you get to an issue like this one, it’s important, but you finish it and the next thought is “two more weeks?!” This book should be phenomenal in trade, but after an issue like this one it’s teeth grinding maddening because I can’t wait to see what happens next and the wait feels like murder just thinking about it. At the same time, that’s a testament to Judd Winick’s narrative as he’s done an incredible job with an assignment that could very easily have gone the other way. The JLI is the best team in DC Comics, and Max Lord is the best villain. Two more issues!
Tags: Brightest Day, JLI, Joe Bennett, Judd Winick, Justice League: Generation Lost, Max Lord, Reviews